Posted by: Dal Watson | July 10, 2012

Portable Audio Solutions for Field Production:

If you are into podcasting, screencasting and/or creating videos, and are looking to pump up your audio quality, look no further than Cliff Ravenscraft and I’ve known of Cliff for several years now and have used his training materials extensively to help me create a sound quality that I’m extremely pleased with. I have some projects in the works right now, and I’m so pleased with the audio quality and I owe all that to Cliff and his expertise in this field. When it comes to (podcasting) audio equipment, soak up every piece of info. right here. And then, when it comes to training and the ‘know-how’ to getting it all hooked up and sounding great, go here. Over the past several months, I’ve gone back and viewed/listened to training materials that I bought from Cliff several years ago. I just needed a reminder as to how Cliff works his magic. Listen to any of his podcasts and you will hear the rich audio quality. One of my favorite pieces of equipment in terms of making a remarkable difference in my audio quality for my projects has been/is the ‘Behringer MDX-4600 4-Channel Expander/Gate/Compressor/Peak Limiter.’ Cliff can tell you how to set it up with the mixer that he recommends. Just go to this link and scroll down to the product, ‘Behringer MDX-4600 Setup Tutorial.’ It’s worth your time and money!!! To me, this is the one piece of equipment that is the most important for achieving high quality audio results!!!

Now, for something that I recently figured out based on Cliff’s teaching materials. I’ve been looking for just as good sound quality in the field and in remote locations without having to drag around too much equipment. To me, I want all (or as many) of my projects to have the same rich, high quality sound. So, I got to thinking about it and looking around for a more portable solution. Here’s what I came up with (and pardon the massive description). For the mixer, something light, something highly portable and as an ADDED BONUS, capable of being BATTERY OPERATED (or plugged into an electrical outlet too): the “Behringer XENYX 1002B Premium 10-Input 2-Bus Mixer with XENYX Preamps, British Eqs And Optional Battery Operation” (<<< copy and paste this into Google/Bing…I got mine at…Behringer makes this specifically with field audio production in mind). The most important feature on this mixer…the 'insert/output' jack (sometimes labeled 'Insert', 'I/O' or 'INS'). This feature on whatever brand of mixer you choose is a must to be able to incorporate the 'priceless benefit' of a "Compressor/Limiter/Gate" as Cliff refers to it in the 'Behringer MDX-4600 training module' mentioned above. Now the second piece of equipment that I purchased with portability in mind is the sister to the Behringer MDX-4600, the 'Behringer MDX-2600 2-Channel Expander/Gate/Compressor/ Peak Limiter' (<<< copy and paste this into Google/Bing…got this at too)…note this one is a 2 channel version. Now, I'm in no way recommending it over the 4-Channel unit because Cliff explains all the reasons why/how he has his 'studio' set up using the 4-Channel unit, and it makes complete sense after you view/listen to the 'Inside The Studio: Equipment Setup & Podcast Workflow Tutorial' found on this same link mentioned previously in this post. But for the FIELD PRODUCTION, the MDX-2600 (2 channel) makes more sense for me for this type of use/application. The other item needed is a ‘Send/Return Insert Cable’ (I bought, on Cliff’s recommendation), the ‘Hosa (Technology) STP-202 Insert Cable (1/4″ TRS to 1/4″ TS).’ Again, Cliff goes over the importance/purpose of this cable in his ‘Behringer MDX-4600 Setup Tutorial.’

On my videos (and screencasts), I’ve also have had great luck recording into the ‘Edirol R-09HR Digital Audio Recorder’ in addition to my video camera/computer (check out Cliff’s ‘Edirol R-09HR Tutorial’). Then I go in and add the Edirol audio recordings into my videos in post-production using your basic iMovie. It sounds awesome!!! Here’s a great video on how to do this. It’s really pretty easy and Matt (in this video) does a great job of explaining how to do this.

Now, you might be saying, what a pain in the butt!!! Well, it just depends on how important sound/audio is to you in your video(s)/screencast(s). To me, the audio can be a great separater from average to exceptional videos and/or screencasts. I’m pumped and ready to try this in the field. Go check out all the links on Cliff and his training products as well as his equipment recommendations mentioned above.

From a purely field audio perspective for your videos, here’s another idea that cost a little more but is a viable, light weight, highly portable alternative for DSLR or Digital Video Cam shoots; the ‘JuicedLink RM333 Preamp’ (video on it is below). OliviaTech uses it on her DSLR field productions and it sounds really good. Check her YouTube Channel and hear the JuicedLink RM333 in action on all her NAB 2012 videos. This will cut down on many post-production audio issues and for you, this may be the (better) ticket. Watch her videos and see (and hear) for yourself.

[Another option to the JuicedLink RM333 is the Beachtek DXA-SLR Pro]

[Audio Test with JuicedLink RA333 Preamp and How To Properly Ground]

[RØDE i16 – Surround Sound Recording for iOS]

[RØDE iXY Stereo Recording Microphone for iDevices]

[RØDE smartLav Lavalier Microphone for iDevices]

Here’s the blog post Olivia refers to at then end of the above video on the RØDE smartLav

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